Philosophy & History
• To help each child develop their intellect, spirit and body together.
• To inspire independence and an integrated personality in our students.
• To see that each child gains in self-confidence, encouraged to tackle new challenges.
• To instill in each child an enthusiasm for learning, thoughtful, responsible behavior and respect for the natural world and other human beings.
In 1967, a quiet, committed force of nature brought Montessori principles and training to St. Louis education. Pearl Vanderwall founded Villa di Montessori School that year and, later, established a training academy. Vanderwall, a Sri Lankan native, studied Montessori methodology with the late Dr. Maria Montessori who developed it by observing children and how they learn.
Pearl Vanderwall’s dream for the St. Louis school combined the idea of a not for profit community, giving as many children as possible the gift of a Montessori education, with membership in the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI).
By 1972 Vanderwall opened the Montessori Training Center of St. Louis to help the Montessori community grow and flourish in the Midwest. After adding the elementary level in 1978, the school moved through a series of rental spaces then settled on six quiet acres in residential Kirkwood in 1987.
Construction of a master plan including expansion and new building and facilities at the school began in August, 2015. The first phase, which includes a new Elementary building, pool house and pavilion was completed in May, 2017. Construction will resume in 2020.